Automatic tool changing on a 3D printer

tool

[Luis] has a pretty interesting project on his hands. He’s using a delta 3D printer to plate a few edibles – yogurt, chocolate, and other thick liquids. Because he intends to use actual plates as the build surface, calibration is key. One solution to this problem would be to use identical, pre-measured plates for everything this printer makes. [Luis]‘ solution is much more ingenious than that, however. He’s programmed his printer to automatically swap out two tools – one for probing the build surface, and another to extrude liquids.

The two tools are suspended from the body of the printer, and with a little bit of software it’s possible for them to be picked up by the head of the printer and held in place with a few magnets. After auto leveling the build surface in software, a G Code command switches the tools over to a paste extruder for all those delicious edibles.

If an automated tool changer isn’t enough, [Luis] has also completed a very nice 3D printed peristaltic pump to squirt out foodstuffs. You can check out a video of this printer in action below.

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3D Printed Prosthetic Hand

hand

3D printing – with the promise of low-scale manufacturing and custom parts – is ideal for the prosthetic industry, but so far prosthetic hands have been a very, very hard nut to crack. [Joel] has been working on the Open Hands Project, a project that aims to make robotic prosthetics accessible to makers, researchers, and amputees alike.

Even though the mechanisms inside the hand are fairly simple – DC gear motors retracting steel cable ‘tendons’ – [Joel] was able to pack all this equipment into a very small volume that isn’t much bigger than real, meat-based hands. To actuate the mechanical muscles in the hand, the user simply flexes a few muscles in their forearm. These electrical signals are picked up by a suite of custom electronics and tell the Open Hand what to do

In [Joel]‘s Indiegogo video, he goes over what makes his robohands work with a little help from [Liam Corbett], hand amputee. Aesthetically, the Open Hand is a big improvement over [Liam]‘s two-pronged hook, and with the dexterity demonstrated in the video, possibly a lot more capable.

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3D Printering: Electronics Boards

If you’re gearing up to build a 3D printer, one of the first things you’ll need to look at is your options for electronics boards. Whether you decide to optimize for cost or capability, the choices you make during the planning stages of your build will drastically affect what the final project will look like and how it will behave.

There are a ton of electronics boards out there, so for this installation of 3D Printering, we’re going to take a look at what’s available. Hit the link below to give Hackaday more pageviews read the rest.

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3D Printering: The Combo Machines Cometh

There’s only so many ways to squeeze hot plastic out of a nozzle, and eventually witnessing the explosion of 3D printer designs over the past few years gets just a little repetitive. What then, is someone who dreams of a technological utopia, Star Trek replicators, and making a few bucks off a Kickstarter to do?

The answer, of course, is a combo machine. Where the Repraps, Makerbots, and the very high-end Stereolithography machines can only do additive manufacturing by laying down plastic or resin layer by layer, these combo machines can also remove material, be it plastic, wood, or metals such as brass or aluminum.

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NESPo: another 3D printed portable NES

portableNESSide2

Grab your favorite cartridge and violently blow into the end, because [Dave Nunez] is sending us on a nostalgia trip with his 3D printed portable NES. He takes the typical route of chopping up a Nintendo on a chip (NOAC) retro machine rather than sacrifice a real NES, and opts for a NiMH battery over lithium (which isn’t a bad idea; they can burst into flames if you charge them incorrectly). The battery life is, however, tolerable: 2.5 to 3 hours.

All the components are packed into a custom-made 3D printed PLA enclosure, which [Dave] kindly shares on thingiverse. He also decided to 3D print each of the buttons and their bezels/housings, which he then topped off by cutting acrylic sheets that seal up the front and back. As a final touch, [Dave] slips in some custom art under the acrylic and mounts a printed LED nameplate in the corner.

We’ve seen [Dave's] work at Hackaday before, when he built a one-size-fits-all-consoles arcade controller.

Dual extruders in the space of one stepper motor

dual

The new hotness in 3D printers is – and has been for a while – dual extrusion. With two extruders and the requisite filament supply, it’s possible to print objects in two colors or two different materials. There’s a problem with this setup, though: each extruder requires a separate motor, greatly reducing the print area should you want to print in two or more colors. [Carl] and [Brian] think they have the solution to this with their dual extruder that is powered by one stepper motor.

As you can see from the pic above, the idea is relatively simple. Two strands of filament are fed past one gear attached to a stepper motor. Each strand is moved into the hot end through two idler gears and side of the extruder feeds into the hot end is determined by the rotation of the motor. It’s really one of those, “why didn’t I think of that” ideas.

[Carl] and [Brian] are also offering a quad extruder, a dual-sized extruder able to pump four different filaments onto a printer bed. With this, we expect some people to experiment with CMYK (or CMYW) prints, truly turning any 3D printer into a machine that prints full color parts.

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The tiniest arcade cabinets you’ve ever seen

arcade

After perusing Amazon one day, [Dave] found a very interesting piece of kit: a small, 1.5″ digital picture frame. They’re not very complex, just an LCD, a few buttons to cycle the picture, and a battery to keep everything portable. He decided the best use of this tech would be a tiny arcade cabinet, featuring screen shots of the best games a darkly neon lit arcade of the late 80s had to offer.

After sourcing a few of these digital picture frames on eBay, [Dave] set to work disassembling the frames and designing a custom enclosure. He wanted a few specific features: controls in the right place, replaceable sides, and the glowing red eyes of a coin acceptor slot. [Dave] whipped a model up in OpenSCAD and sent the parts over to his printer.

The controls for the digital picture frame were connected to a quartet of tact switches on the control panel, and a red LED provides the glow from the coin acceptor. With a USB plug and the frame’s memory loaded up with screen shots, [Dave] has a fabulous desk toy.

All the relevant files are up on Thingiverse if you’d like to build your own.